Always Something There to Remind Me

Daily Prompt Post: A song comes on the radio and instantly, you’re transported to a different time and place. Which song(s) bring back memories for you and why? Be sure to mention the song, and describe the memory it evokes.

This song reminds me of my first real taste of heartbreak.  It was a long time ago now…five or six years, at least.  I was crazy about a guy who I thought liked me back, only to find he didn’t.  Or maybe just wasn’t interested in a relationship.  I’m still not sure, and have never had the courage to ask, even though we’re still good friends today.

When I (finally) got the “no”, I was devastated, locking myself away in my room in the dark, curled up on the floor, this song playing loudly, tears falling uncontrollably.  This song really helped me through it, though.  I don’t know why a sad song is sometimes so therapeutic, but it is.

I have memories attached to almost all of Taylor’s songs, but this one is definitely one of the most powerful.  Every time I hear it, it takes me straight back there.  It doesn’t make me sad any more though, but rather, glad I’m in a better place now, and glad I learnt so much from it.

Excruciatingly Embarrassing

My most embarrassing moment was a few months after I turned 18, halfway through my last year of school.  I did a lot of dumb things back then – as we all did.  One of the more stupid things I decided to do was try to take units 3 & 4 in Music, after only starting to learn guitar a couple of years before and not being very good…mostly because I hated practicing.  I didn’t take any music units at school prior to deciding to do it in my final year (well, not since the mandatory lessons back in Year 8, which was a long time before).  I’d been taking guitar lessons for a couple of years, and that had given me an unhealthy confidence that I could take on the challenge.  The music teachers didn’t think it was a good idea either, warning me it’d be very difficult, but like the naive teenager I was, I did it anyway.  How hard could it be, right?

It it hard.
Really, really hard.

First off, because I’d been taught guitar in tabs, not sheet music.  Music class was all about sheet music and the theory behind it.  Add to that, musical theory and maths go hand in hand, and I’ve always been terrible at maths, to the point I wasn’t even doing it in my final year.  Still, I scraped through class by class, barely passing but not failing either.

Now, you’d think this would force me to take things more seriously and focus on it more.  You’d think I’d get my gameface on and try.  After all, I’d been the one to defy what the teachers had told me to do it anyway.  Instead, I didn’t take it seriously at all.  I guess in my defence, I’d already done two final-year classes the year before, so I knew if I really bombed in Music, then I had those results to fall back on (at the time, only the top five results counted towards your overall mark so the worst two classes for me would drop off and not count).  Also, about halfway through my final year I was accepted into film school, which in turn led me to be even more relaxed about school and my final marks.

Anyway, aside from theory, there were also practical exams for music.  Like I said, I’d only been playing guitar for a couple of years and I wasn’t great.  I wasn’t awful either, but I certainly wasn’t anywhere near the standard I should have been to be taking the class (I know that now!).  As part of the lead up to our exams, the teacher decided it’d be good practice to have a performance night in the school hall, where parents and friends could come and watch how everyone was going.

Again, you’d think that’d make me knuckle down a little.  I mean, it’s a freaking performance in front of people other than peers.  Instead, the date kept creeping closer and closer, and I’d practice in class and at my music lessons.  Even though I wasn’t nailing it, I thought “it’ll be fine”.  Having never had to play an instrument in front of anyone, I didn’t really get it.  I just assumed it’d somehow – magically – come together.

So, the night came.  I went out on stage with the other people I was performing with.  The hall was maybe half-full, so it wasn’t a huge crowd, but it seemed pretty big from where I was standing.  The music started, and I froze up.  I missed where I was supposed to come in.  Then I tried to overcome that by joining in, and missing the timing, then having to stop and start again.  Then, stressing more, I started to forget the notes.  The longer it went on, the worse my performance was, until by the end I’d basically stopped playing so I wasn’t ruining it for the others on stage.

I’d never been so humiliated in my life, and I knew I had nobody to blame but myself.  I hadn’t put any serious practice in and this was what I deserved.  I’d been lazy, overconfident, naive, dumb.  My face was burning as I left the stage.  I collected my stuff as quickly as possible (which isn’t that quick when you’re lugging a guitar around), expecting people to pay me out.  Nobody said anything, which I guess was the best I could of hoped for.  I got out of there quick smart, and was thoroughly embarrassed for about a week.

At least one good thing came out of it.  By the time my real practical exam rolled around, I’d practiced so much I could almost play it with my eyes closed.  I wasn’t going to so stupid again.  I knew it wasn’t just going to come together, it took real work.  I still didn’t get great marks in the class overall, but at least I didn’t totally stuff up the practical exam.  Phew!

This was inspired by the prompt ‘your most excruciatingly embarrassing moment. We’ve all got one.’ which can be found here.

“What is Your Favourite Childhood Christmas Memory?”

Christmas was one of my favourite times of year as a kid (as most people will say).  The countdowns with advent calendars filled with terrible tasting chocolate, writing messy handwritten letters to santa asking for ridiculous things, all the school activities in December leading up to it.  It’s magical.

Every Christmas Eve we’d sit around the TV as a family and watched the Carols (for people outside Australia, it’s a three-hour show where celebrities – I’m using the term loosely – sing Carols and the Wiggles and Santa Claus would come on for the kids).  My sister and I would put cookies and milk out for Santa in front of the fireplace, and shaved carrots for the reindeer.  We’d hang our oversized stockings up and head to bed, with my parents strict instructions “No getting out of bed until 7, otherwise Santa won’t come!”.

I’d always sleep terribly, too excited for the presents waiting in the lounge room.  The second the clock hit 7am, I’d be tearing up the stairs, bowling into my parents’ room, begging them to let me open my presents.  My sister wouldn’t be far behind.  My parents were always way too slow for my liking, but eventually we’d run down the stairs and into the lounge room.  There were always piles of presents, some under the tree (the presents “from my parents”) and ones in front of the fire place (from “Santa”).  I remember one year “Santa” changed it up and left me and my sister bikes behind the couches instead.  Another year, he left us a trampoline in the backyard.  This was probably the most memorable Christmas as within 24 hours of getting that trampoline, my sister (who was about 4 at the time) broke her leg on it.  We were on it together and we must have bounced too close together or something, and the next second she’s howling in pain.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t anything to do with the exposed springs, which is usually how injuries on trampolines happen!

I remember my dad rushing her to the closest doctor’s office – one we’d never been to before – and him coming back, carrying my sister awkwardly, telling mum they’d said it was just sprained.  My sister was still screaming and crying, and I guess mother’s intuition kicked in as she told dad to go straight to our normal doctor’s office instead (I’m not sure why he didn’t go there initially…I guess they may not have been opened that early or something).  I remember the time dragged on and they were there a long time, and when dad came back, my sister had a big cast over her whole leg (right up to her hip) and she had something called a ‘Green Stick Fracture’.  I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded funny.  I now know it means she basically broke the bone clear through.  She was so little that my mum had to hunt around for crutches small enough.  For the next six weeks, she had to have baths with a garbage bags over her cast, she had to go into her old stroller that she was miles to big for, that her kindergarten had to make special arrangements for her.  There was also a new rule that was never broken (possibly the only one to not be!)  – “only one person jumping on the trampoline at once!”


This prompt was found here, along with a whole bunch of others.

#loveme challenge – Day Five

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Day Five – “A Note to Your Past Self”.

Hmmm.  This is vague.  Interesting, but vague.  Who do I write to?  My five-year-old self that was obsessed with Barbies and the colour orange?  My nine-year-old self who was absolutely convinced she’d become an artist when she grew up?  My twelve-year-old self, in the cusp of puberty and extremely embarrassed by it all?  So many options.

Dear my sixteen-year-old self.
Hi.  I know it’s hard to believe I’m writing to you from the future.  I’m 25 now.  Seems crazy right?  25, the time you assumed that you’d have it all together.  Well, unfortunately you don’t.  No partner, no job, renting (don’t be mad, I know you swore you’d never get stuck the rent trap but you also know how badly you needed to move out of the parentals place.  Trust me, this isn’t so bad), still not sure what you want to do with your life.  But you know what?  A lot of 25-year-olds are in the same situation.  It’s scary, but it’s not so bad.  I know to you, 25 seems so far away, but it isn’t.  It’ll come faster than you think.
I know right now you’re going through some stuff.  You feel alone.  You aren’t.  Sixteen is a tough year for most people.  Don’t let it get you down.  Enjoy yourself.  I know the teachers at school are all about you “knuckling down” and suggesting you “think about your future”.  I know the tests are getting harder, the lessons are getting more serious.  Don’t worry about it.  Just do your best, but don’t let it wear you down.  There’s more important things than the result of some quiz.  Go out more with your friends.  Spend more time with your dogs.  Buy stupid things.  Quit that awful job.  Don’t let yourself get stressed out and depressed.  Everything will work out.
That boy you think you’re in love with…let him go.  He’s not right for you and not interested in you.  You pretending to enjoy sport isn’t going to get you anywhere.  Don’t let him hurt you, you’re worth more than that.  It’s okay to be alone, even if the whole world seems to believe otherwise.
It’s okay to be emo.  It’s okay to enjoy it.  If it makes you happy, just do it.  It won’t last forever.  At 25, you can’t do stuff like that any more.  Enjoy these phases while you can, it’ll make for more interesting stories later on.
Don’t listen to your mum or anyone else who says you’re fat.  You aren’t.  You may not be the skinniest person in your year level but you are not overweight.  Don’t throw in the towel and think it’s okay to eat bad food all the time.  It will catch up with you!
The most important piece of advise I’ve got – more important than anything else I’ve mentioned – is to be yourself.  I know at 16, it’s all about peer pressure and fitting in, but almost all the people you associate with now, you won’t remain friends with in a few years.  Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true.  People grow up, go separate ways, don’t have time to organise catch ups.  Don’t worry what they think.  Don’t pretend you enjoy things that you don’t, don’t spend time with people you dislike.  It’s okay to go against the crowd sometimes, but it’s also perfectly fine to go with it (which I know you struggle with).  Sometimes, the crowd is right.  You don’t have to constantly be at war with “the man”.  Pick your fights.
Anyway, hope school isn’t too tough for you today!  Chin up soldier!

-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Four


Day Four – “A Person who Loves You”.

This is an interesting one because normally, you’d expect it to be “a person you love”, which is easy.  There are a few people I could go with, but I think the most suitable option is the person who got me into blogging, and who is probably my oldest friend.

CJ is someone I’ve known since…well, pretty much forever. Our families grew up together and we’d hang out together as kids. I remember way back in the day we went on a nature hike somewhere (back then it felt like it was hours away, though I have a sneaking suspicion it probably wasn’t) and another time, we all went bike riding then had a barbecue afterwards.
Despite all that, it wasn’t until about 2009 we actually started hanging out away from “family gatherings”.


Since then, we’ve worked on films together, roadtripped together, travelled together and – up until very recently – worked together.  She’s the closest thing to a big sister I’ve ever had and although we’re been through some rough patches (especially recently) we’ve always forgiven each other and not let it get us down.

I guess the point of today’s challenge isn’t walking down memory lane, though.  Given it’s “a person who loves you” and this whole challenge us about being positive, I think I’m supposed to explain how I know she loves me.

I guess it comes down to one thing – she’s always there for me.  She’s helped me through so many rough patches in these past six years, she’s there to celebrate wins and commiserate losses.  She’s my voice of reason when I’m gonna do something dumb.  Even in the moments I took her for granted or let my emotions get in the way of my common sense, she’s stuck by me.  She knows that even if I fuck up, that it wasn’t my intention, and she’s there to help me through it.  Just like any sisters, there are things we do that drive the other insane, but we see through it and gently remind them to knock it off.

I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without her, and it makes me sad that I won’t see her as much now we aren’t colleagues any more, but I know she’s always just a phone call away 😊

– JD

PS, check out her blog.